Skip to main content


Economics of Climate Change

Module description

This module will address the features and challenges of climate change from an economics point of view. During the lectures and seminars you will be familiarised with how research in economics has engaged with climate change and the methodological approaches developed to assess its impacts. Particularly you will study theoretical models that assess the impacts of climate change on natural resources, and the related institutional and policy challenges. You will analyse existing strategies to cope with climate change, focusing on the role of private, public and third sector actors. You will also assess potential climate policies and their relative strengths and weaknesses.

There are no pre-requisites but useful complementary modules to have taken in the first year include BEP1050 Introduction to Economics and BEP1110 Environment, Society and Business. Complementary modules in the second year include BEP2150 Ecological Economics.

Full module specification

Module title:Economics of Climate Change
Module code:BEP3120
Module level:3
Academic year:2021/2
Module lecturers:
Module credit:15
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 1:


Module aims

This module applies a variety of economic ideas and concepts to address the climate emergency challenge. The module aims to develop a critical understanding of the economics of climate change as a discipline that depends on both environmental changes and ethical considerations. In this module, you will engage in the current debate on greenhouse gas emissions, which is of fundamental importance for the future direction of the world economy, and discover the economic models of climate change that are used by economists to design emissions protocols and emissions-trading frameworks. This will allow you to critically evaluate the climate change policy agenda, advancing decision making in public, private and third sector organisations. Seminars will complement lectures with guest talks, research-led initiatives and further practical applications.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate critical understanding of key issues in climate change economics
  • 2. Distinguish between environmental and ecological economics approaches to climate change
  • 3. Give examples of analytical tools and economic models of climate change
  • 4. Identify the relationship between economic models and policy recommendations

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. Apply economic theory to climate change related challenges
  • 6. Critically appraise the current climate change policy agenda

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Develop independent study skills
  • 8. Demonstrate problem solving skills
  • 9. Apply reason and justification within discussion
  • 10. Working in collaboration with others

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity11Lectures (11 x 1 hour)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity11Seminars (11 x 1 hour)
Guided Independent Study128Reading, research and assessment preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group presentation30 min1-10

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Poster25A one page poster or a short video (max. 2 mins)1-10Written
Essay752500 words1-7Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Poster (25%)Poster (25%)1-10August reassessment period
Essay (75%)Essay (75%)1-7August reassessment period

Syllabus plan

Topics discussed on the module include (not exclusively):


  • Climate change: the scale of the challenge
  • The role of ethics: discounting climate change and climate justice 
  • Environmental and ecological economics approaches to climate change
  • Economic modelling of climate change (e.g. hitting emission targets, valuing biodiversity loss and integrated assessment methods)
  • Economic modelling risks and limitations  
  • The transition to renewable energy
  • Climate change and economics after COP26

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

The following books are a useful resource for this course:


  • Hanley, N. and Owen, A.D., (2006). The Economics of Climate Change. London, Routledge
  • Lawn, P. (2016). Resolving the Climate Change Crisis; The Ecological Economics of Climate Change. Springer
  • Neumayer (2007). A missed opportunity: the Stern review on climate change fails to tackle the issue of non-substitutable loss of natural capital. Global environmental change17(3-4), 297-301.
  • Spash, C. L. (2002). Greenhouse Economics: Value and Ethics. London, Routledge.
  • Stern, N. (2014). The Economics of Climate Change; The Stern Review. Cambridge University Press

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Other resources

A more comprehensive bibliography will be available to students taking this course.

Origin date


Last revision date